Healthcare Policy

Healthcare Policy 18(3) February 2023 : 31-46.doi:10.12927/hcpol.2023.27036
Research Paper

Nursing Home Residents’ Use of Radiography in New Brunswick: A Case for Mobile Radiography?

Eric Plant, Rose McCloskey, Isdore Chola Shamputa, Kavish Chandra, Paul Atkinson, Jacqueline Fraser, Tushar Pishe and Patrick Price


Introduction: Identifying ways to eliminate unnecessary transfer of nursing home (NH) residents to hospitals provides an opportunity to improve outcomes and use scarce healthcare resources more efficiently. This study's goal was to better understand where NH residents access X-ray (XR) and computed tomography (CT) scans and to determine if there was a case for mobile radiography policies in New Brunswick.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of all the visits to the emergency department (ED) and outpatient imaging departments in two hospitals in Saint John, New Brunswick, in 2020, that involved XR or CT investigations was conducted.

Results: There were 521 visits by 311 unique NH residents and 920 investigations (688 XR and 232 CT scans). Most investigations were ordered in the ED (696 of 920; 75.6%; confidence interval: 72.8–78.3%). Of the NH residents who visited the ED and received either an XR or a CT scan, 33.2% received only XR imaging and were discharged back to the NH after a mean ED stay of 5.15 hours.

Discussion: The pattern of NH residents' use of the ED for their imaging needs supports the creation of mobile XR policies to deliver more safe and efficient care in a Canadian medium population urban centre.



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